As a Geek, we are accustomed to things not working. In fact, we are one of the few, semi-sane, hobbyist collectives that actively seek out problems. We hate to toss anything tech related into the trash, the “recycle bin” is a bad word. We try to revive old and outdated PC’s, some with hordes of vital components completely missing without so much as batting an eye; the likes of which would give a normal person a financial panic attack. It is one of our greatest strong suits and quite possibly the reason our species has survived so long. For with these self-inflicted technology ailments comes a unique opportunity to problem-solve.
I was forcibly reminded of this fact while trying to build a new PC to run 20+ years old software. This sounds easy right? But the problem is Technology, it is changing ever so fast, that some companies are late to upgrade, but 23 years??? In true tech form I confidently opened my mouth, and inserted my foot. Little did I know that the company that developed the software went out of business 20 years ago? Considering it is a DOS program, any and all new PC hardware will not run DOS in 64 bit. So after many attempts to locate a suitable donor, I was forced into a corner, maybe we can’t do this? What I need is a “New Old Stock” motherboard that will run a 32 bit OS (Operating System). But everything I found was used, for parts only! After many days of scouring the web, I found such a product, which is only sold in a few countries, and the USA is one of them.
Any Tech Specialist who has built his or her share of computers knows that almost all parts require a certain amount of Fonz-esque finesse to install. But who knows when some tidbit of tech gathered from age old blogs, will shed light on how to make everything work in harmony, or will turn it into an epic save, or maybe even a million-dollar idea. Whether we are cognizant of it or not, every tackled problem heightens our technology ability.
So it is with that idea in mind that I approach every build, upgrade, or install as a means to not only make a PC better but as a test of my problem-solving skills. Such was this latest endeavor that, while more time-consuming than initially anticipated, was a welcome exercise in scrappiness and savvy.
After finally buttoning the whole kit together, modifying nearly everything in some way, I pushed the power button. The PC came to life. On the surface everything was working, so far so good. Then the moment of truth…actually, here is the deal. This software was developed the year my youngest daughter was born, and I never heard of it, used it, or even understand it. But, however, it does start, and go to a main menu, now to find someone who knows how to use the program. Sometimes, I think if everything worked perfectly the first time, I’d get bored.